TORONTO – Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore announced Tuesday afternoon (August 17) that he is issuing a directive to mandate vaccination for people who work in high-risk health care settings.
The move comes as the doctor acknowledged that the COVID-19 Delta variant is taking hold in the province.
Beginning September 7, hospitals, home and community care services, and ambulance services must have COVID-19 immunization policies in place. Employees, contractors, volunteers and students working in those settings either must provide proof of vaccination or a medical reason for not being vaccinated. Unvaccinated or partially-vaccinated individuals will be tested regularly for the virus. This is similar to existing policies in place already for long-term care homes in Ontario.
Moore said that the measures are needed with the increase in case counts and a recent drop-off in progress of vaccinations.
The province has over 81 per cent of the population first dose vaccinated, and many areas are reporting nearly 75 per cent second dose vaccinations – a requirement for moving beyond Step Three of the provincial reopening plan.
On that plan, Moore said that it is paused for now and no further relaxing of public health measures are coming.
Additionally, Moore announced that similar vaccination policies are being developed by the Ministry of Education for school staff as a measure to protect students who are yet unable to receive a vaccine dose. This includes a vaccine disclosure policy for publicly-funded schools, private schools, and licenced child-care settings.
Staff that are not vaccinated will also have to complete regular COVID-19 testing.
He added that as the measures are being applied to school staff, it made sense to apply it to eligible students, but that is not part of the upcoming policy yet.
An announcement by the Ministry of Education is expected in the coming weeks.
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader